I am a Skirt Sports Ambassador and therefore, receive some compensation from their company. However, any and all posts I write about them are purely because I love their brand!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

2018 In my Rear View Mirror

*I am a Skirt Sports Ambassador and do receive compensation in the form of discounts for sharing about the company.  But they don't make me share.  I do it because I love it! If you'd like to try it yourself you can use my code 754Rens for 15% off your order at Skirt Sports.

New Year 2018! 

And just like that another year flies by! Hold onto your hats! This is a long post as I rehash what was a very busy but eventful year! Don't worry if you're time crunched. It's mostly photos.  Yes, if watching your grandparents old slide shows of other people having fun thrilled you then this is the post for you! Okay, it's not going to take nearly as long as those slide shows. And maybe you'll find a race you want to do as you read about the races I did.  Or perhaps a new fitness routine will find its way into your life based off of my experience. (yes, I'm using my subliminal powers of suggestion on you). Or you'll be inspired to vacation or hike or bake a cake? You never know! Meanwhile, just know, that I know, this is more for me than you but I hope you enjoy reading it anyway, even if you do scroll past a lot of the photos.

 I went into the year full of expectations for how I was going to improve my running and I even had a bunch of steps on the agenda for how I was to do it.  Life is full of surprises and I wound up going a completely different direction from what I expected.  God placed a brand new challenge in front of me from the get go.  As a matter of fact, it was New Year's Eve 2017 when He gave me a new road to follow.  I saw that REFIT® Revolution was having a sale on their instructor certification course in Seattle.  I felt a stirring in my heart.  I didn't really know what REFIT® was but I did know another Skirt Sports Ambassador was an instructor for them and I reached out to her with questions. She encouraged me to DO IT!  I went out to the garage where my husband was doing a New Year purge.  I wanted his opinion.  He thought it sounded like a great idea and a perfect fit for me.  The cost didn't put him off and I got the go ahead. That night I went to our New Year's Eve party with our church small group crew and brought the idea up to them. Our pastors were there and gave me a two thumbs up to do it as it sounded like a great idea.  I prayed about it and on New Year's Day I swallowed hard, took a deep breath, and registered for the course.
Best. Decision. Ever. I was committed. While this was exciting, it wasn't the only thing that happened in 2018!

January was the annual Rain Run Half Marathon with Kristy.  We love this race so much! They are so good to their runners and it's a great winter goal. 

I may have turned this one into a meme

The training weekend for REFIT® happened in February with an Experience Class the evening before the instructor training.  I talked my BRF Kristy and good friend, Dana, into attending the experience class with me.  None of us knew what to expect but all three of us walked away quite sweaty and in love with a new fitness routine.  In fact Dana signed up to attend the instructor training with me!

Experience Class 2018

Class of Seattle 2018!

We did it!  New instructors!

 March was a good and bad month. Sadly, we lost our fur baby, Rachet, who was born with a severe heart murmur. We had 6.5 wonderful years with him but eventually his heart just couldn't keep up with the love that he had bursting out of it.  We said goodbye to our sweet boy on March 8th.  I miss him terribly. He was a pain in the butt much of the time but he was also a huge snuggle bug who loved his people with everything he had and we loved him back.  You could forgive that cat anything! Yes, even the pee ruined carpet.

I did my first job as a pacer in March at the Mercer Island Half Marathon.  What a fun experience!  I paced the 2:45 group and we were successful finishing in 2:44:14!  My pacing partner was Renee and this was the first time for either of us to pace.  Not bad for two newbies!  I also met up with fellow Ambassador Krissteen who gave me the pacing opportunity.  Thanks Krissteen!  It was a blast!

April was the Everett Half Marathon.  Yes, we're seeing a trend of Half Marathon's and not full marathon's.  REFIT choreography was keeping me busy! It was a super wet day and cold but there were lots of friends to make the weather conditions worth it.

Yes, we look goofy here.  We were doing a balance challenge!

Hot Pizza at the finish!!
My husband!  He's often the lone male in
a sea of Skirt!

 We also did a Skirt Sports Ambassador hike in April.  Four of us met up to hike Little Mount Si.  It was another wet day but the trail was beautiful and we had a great time!

In April I kicked off my very first REFIT® class!  I was nervous and excited at the same time but I had a supportive crew show up and we enjoyed a great workout together. I realized that God had known what he was doing when he called me to this instructor gig because I loved every minute!  I had found a new calling!  And I'm thrilled to be able to bring this fitness format to my church, friends, and community.
New Instructor!

Just a few of my happy participants in the following photos!

You may notice a progression of more and more wearing Skirt Sports.  Someone might
be a bit of an influence.  Actually, we have three ambassadors in our regular group.  But
they really do work well for REFIT® as they twirl around with us a bit as we move.  Fun!

May was the Snohomish Women's Run and I did the half marathon.  I hadn't really trained at all as I'd been busy learning choreography for REFIT®.  It's hard to squeeze it all in.  I had no idea how I was going to do but I love this race because it's close to home, it's super supportive and encouraging, it has a great sweatshirt and cool medal, and I usually have lots of friends there.  I was thrilled to realize that REFIT® is good for my running!  While I didn't come near my PR I finished in a faster time than I'd seen in a long time.  I used a 60:30 Galloway run/walk and was shocked that I could finish in 2:20:04 with all that walking.  And on no real training!  Imagine if I trained!  Ha!
Jen was a bike lead and we met up pre-race for a photo and then after race for lunch!

How I felt about running a faster than expected time!

This run is always a great place to see Skirt Sisters!
May and June were really busy where my daughter was concerned.  In June she graduated and turned 18 all in the same weekend! However, the crazy of this time began in May with academic and scholarship awards.  Well earned awards, I might add!  This kid did not have an easy time of it in high school.  She battles chronic migraines as well as OCD and anxiety.  She's missed weeks of school at a time but still managed to graduate on time!  Much love and thanks to the alternative school in our district.  We love AIM High School!  It's the best!  She received a Teen Challenge Award, three scholarships, and some academic awards from AIM.  Yes, we are proud!

Instead of having two parties, one for graduation and one for her 18th birthday, we did a big combo party.  It worked great and was lots of fun!
I was super busy before the party baking cupcakes and a birthday cake.  Fortunately, she wanted a simpler cake design this year than year's past.  

Family photo at her party
Did I mention I was planning some of this party from Colorado?  Okay, I wasn't really doing any planning in Colorado but I did squeeze a quick trip into the crazy of June so I could attend the Skirt Sports Ambassador Retreat.  This is my 3rd year as an ambassador but the first year I've been able to attend the retreat.  Such a FUN and CRAZY and INSPIRING time! It was so much fun to see friends I've only ever known online in real life!  The event started with a shopping trip at the store or in Ambassador speak, The Mothership!   (warning: there may be just a few photos to come here. I can't believe I didn't give this its own blog. Oh yeah, daughter graduating right after! I may have been distracted.)

I sent this selfie to my husband to assure him I was
enjoying myself spending his money. 

Next up was the cocktail party.  I wore my vintage Skirt Sports dress. I met so many ambassadors that I'd only ever seen on line.  I had delicious food and cake. And I got an award for displaying  the values of Skirt Sports. It was the Health and Fitness Award because I'm "always moving in my photos".  Oh, if only they saw all the times I was also on my couch relaxing with Netflix!
Finally meeting the awesome founder of Skirt Sports, Nicole DeBoom! She is just as cool, kind, inspiring, and awesome in real life as she is online.  Everyone wanted her attention and somehow she found the energy to make every one of us feel special and important.  

In order of height! I love this photo!

On stage getting my award.  I was totally surprised and honored to be recognized. 

So many ambassadors in one place!
The next day we hiked and listened to speakers and had breakout sessions.  We also ate food and spent time laughing and enjoying being together!

Just a little fan girl moment as I walk and talk with Nicole during our hike!

We may or may not have taken up the entire trail space.  

Group Photo!

One of my favorite photos from the weekend!

And another favorite!
The morning breakout session was both fun and informative!

Just a few Captains!
The final day of the retreat was the Skirt 13'er Race!  This was probably the most fun I have ever had in a race!  The amount of encouragement and good feels and motivation was through the roof! It was like running a race with all your best friends!

Kristin and I were roomies and ended up running the entire race together.  Well, walking and running.  That elevation is real!
A roomie and fellow WA Ambassadors on the course

Stacy from my neck of the woods!
The famous boulder!  Everyone favored this as a spot for a jump!

We may have taken turns taking jump shots. This was not a race for time.  It was totally about the photos and friends!
Sometimes it's not the elevation that gets you, it's forgetting
to take any fuel until mile 11. Oops.

Finish! I'm sort of inclined to race ahead at the finish lines.  There. It. Is!

Noelle - Ambassador Coordinator Extraordinaire! 

Cake with Nicole?  Yes, please!

Who wants to eat cake?

Ambassadors from Western WA

Do you know how long I've wanted to hoola hoop at the retreat? 

Summer brought some camping trips, hikes, a trip to the ocean and Glacier National Park.  I'll scale back the photos a bit but it was a wonderful summer of fun!
Cannon Beach

The family at Glacier National Park.  We were there during a large fire that had much of the park closed down and much of it hazy and smoke filled but we still saw so much beauty and lots of animals, including bears (from afar), so I was happy.

I love my camper!

Oh yes!  In the midst of all our summer busy my mom and dad celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary!  We planned a vow renewal/camping trip with them and the family.  For some reason I cannot find the photo of our entire family at this moment.  Sorry spouses and most of the grandchildren! 

My brother, my mom, and me.  Our youngest brother and his wife recently moved to CO. 
We missed them but they helped from afar!
My daughter and their oldest grandchild.

The 4th of July was fun with our annual tradition of running in the Yankee Doodle Dash. My husband and I were introduced to this race many years ago by our running friend, Nelson.  He encouraged us in the very beginning of our running careers. He is no longer with us but we're pretty sure he runs this race from heaven.  BRF Kristy has added this race to her yearly must do, too.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my other child had a birthday in July.  He opted for an ice-cream cake this year so I didn't get to put my baking skills to the test.  Instead I got to put my quick decorating skills to test as I worked to frost and decorate before ice-cream wound up melted everywhere.  After the crazy of planning a graduation and 18th bday party and a 50th anniversary party, I wasn't too disappointed to get a break on his cake. This took far less time to create than his previous year's concoctions.

Sometime in the midst of all this crazy I decided to submit an application to become a REV+FLOW instructor through REFIT®.  This is a more technical fitness format and required an audition video, certain requirements to be met, studying and a test to pass, and finally, one last video submission.  I wasn't sure this was the right time to take this on with everything else going on over the summer but once again, felt like God said to do it.  So I did.  And I am so glad! I love REFIT®! I love REV+FLOW even more.  It's so good for me personally as a runner and it's also great for everyone else!  My dad is even taking classes from me and gaining functional fitness, strength, and balance.  Once again, my church has been so supportive in letting me bring this to our community.  It's hard work growing a class that no one has heard of, as this is a brand new format, but it's totally worth it and I have faith that God is going to bless the effort.  He already has!  
Studying for my test!  That's my son's finger being obnoxious in the background.
I may have used this photo as a #31daysofskirtsports social media post. 

A few from my REV+FLOW group.   

September!  Am I almost done with this year yet?  2018 has been super busy, hasn't it?  And yet no full marathons! I did manage to squeeze in the Blerch Half Marathon.  I had been signed up for the full but my foot had been bothering me with some plantar fasciitis and my training hadn't happened so I dropped to the half.  While I missed the adventure of the full it was nice to run part of the race with my husband and to get to finish while all the fun was still happening in the finish area.  Once again, I was really happy and surprised by how well I ran off of doing REFIT® primarily. I actually had negative splits! Okay, it may be mostly slight uphill the first half and downhill the second half but I sped up and didn't slow down so it counts!

Skirt Sister Sighting!

A race with couches on the course for a little break with a Blerch!

I actually finished before my husband so I got a picture of him coming to the finish.

The face you make when you drop your
cake in your lap.
The face you make when you get more cake at the finish!

The face you make when you see kittens at the finish!

Skirt Sister Finishers!

Grilled donuts?  Yes, please!

October is another Snohomish Running Company event,
The Snohomish River Run.  We've done it every year but one (the year we ran Portland Marathon).  We love this one because again, hometown, but also because it starts and finishes right in downtown Snohomish and just a couple blocks from our office building.  This means we have a parking spot, a warm place to warm up, and real bathrooms!  And if you're lucky enough to know us you are welcome to join us in waiting here!  

We're ready!  It's cold standing around waiting - 32 degrees!

Sheryl - bike lead!

Finished! And was met with a Skirt Sports Retreat Mug.
They were late arriving so were sent out to us
after the fact.  Kaeli was our delivery person.
Skirt Sister's doing the full marathon!
I'm still doing my year of half's only. I was
okay with that this time.  Lol! 
Skirt Volunteers!

Found it!
The finish line is near!

Happy Runner!
Joyful Runner!

In early November we decided it would be fun to add a new pet to our home and adopted a hamster from some friends who couldn't keep their little girl anymore.  Her name was Princess but my son said no Princess name.  So we dubbed her Autumn but she still got called Princess Autumn a lot.  She was very sweet and super tame and would actually sleep in our hands, stretching and yawning, and we were happy to get to know her.  Unfortunately, we only had her for a very short time as she passed away late December.  We're not sure if she was older than her previous owners thought or if she came down with a respiratory infection but when we saw she was failing we tried our best to nurse her back to health.  We used heating pads to warm her and gave her Thyme Tea (which is healing for hammies) but it was to no avail.  We were sad to lose her so soon after getting her.  She was very sweet.  RIP, little Autumn.

November is the Cupcake race!  I talked Kristy into doing the half with me since it's on our normal running route and we had to run that day anyway. And it's for a great cause, helping local families in need.  And it's directed by friends and lots of friends show up to participate in it.  We planned on being slow and using it as a fun way to pep up an otherwise average training run.  Mission accomplished!

So many Skirt Sisters here!

We usually run the Seattle Marathon in November but this year we volunteered instead!  It felt weird not to be running it and I was having serious FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) by not running but volunteering had its own fun.  We teamed up with Jen, meeting in Everett, and carpooling to Seattle together.  We were placed near the 20/23 mile markers (it was a short loop) so it was great fun to give the runner's encouragement when they were really feeling the smack of that wall.

Jen and I goofing off near the end of the race when most everyone had passed and we had time to chat.
Our location was really confusing and the arrow meant very little to the runner's by this late in the mileage. Brains are fried at this point and I was literally jumping at times to point out the correct direction to keep them on course.

Hey!  I did spot a celebrity!  It's Skirt Sports Ambassador Latoya!  

My husband at his post.  He was across
the street from us so a bit more lonely.

We parked near the troll.  A picture was required! 

 Alas, when we arrived back at our car we found this sight and a note on our windshield!

Ugh! Someone had hit our car! We felt very fortunate that she left her information.  We actually have the same insurance as her and the system worked beautifully.  It was quick and fairly painless to get the car repaired.  Phew and thank the Lord!

Are we at December yet?  Wowzer!  We are! December has two really fun races we like to do.  The first is the Hot Cocoa Run in Arlington.  It's a 5K/10K and we signed up for the 10K.  It's a small race so guess what?  For the second year in a row I nailed 1st place in my AG.  Kristy and Chris pulled in 3rd places in their AG's.  Yay us!  Mary Beth was doing the 5K so it was a lot of fun to see her!

Festive Running Crew

 Next up was the 12K's of Christmas Run! Such a fun race! Lots of costumes and it has a good split of road vs gravel trail to run on.  Water views and trees and lots of smiles and happy faces. And a good sense of humor as you can see with the Santa Porta-Potty and the Elf theme.

Cute Medal!

Skirt Sisters!

There you have it! 2018 in my rear view mirror! It was a year full of firsts and new adventures and one I'll recall with fondness.  Thanks for hanging with me and if you were a part of these adventures, thanks for adding to the awesomeness of it all!